Neuropsychology is the study of the relationship between the brain and a person’s functioning in daily life. Neuropsychologists are doctoral-level, clinical psychologists who have completed two-year postdoctoral fellowships in Clinical Neuropsychology. Neuropsychologists are specially trained to assess the cognitive functioning of people with the following conditions or suspected conditions: dementia, concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, ADHD, learning disabilities, substance-induced cognitive decline, genetic/chromosomal abnormalities, and a large number of other conditions affecting the brain. Neuropsychologists emphasize research-driven decision-making, case formulation, and diagnosis.
Neuropsychologists conduct their evaluations most often with the use of paper-and-pencil tests and oral response tests. They use these tests to assess the following skill areas which impact individuals’ daily functioning: memory, attention, processing speed, language, academic skills, reasoning and problem solving, visual-spatial abilities, motor skills, executive functioning (planning, organizing, inhibiting, etc.), performance credibility, and adaptive skills. A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation will also include a thorough review of relevant medical, psychiatric, and academic records in addition to an interview of the client and other involved individuals. Neuropsychologists then create a written report that provides detailed test results, a description of the person’s strengths and weaknesses, a diagnosis, and reasoning for the diagnosis. Depending on the nature of the evaluation, neuropsychologists may also provide recommendations for how to optimize the client’s neurocognitive, psychological, and daily functioning outcomes. Following the completion of the evaluation, the neuropsychologist can meet with the client and other involved parties to discuss results and recommendations.